Palestinian shooting attack in downtown Tel Aviv kills Israeli security guard

AP , Sunday 6 Aug 2023

A Palestinian gunman on Saturday opened fire in central Tel Aviv, killing an Israeli security guard before he was shot and killed by police, authorities said.

Palestinian shooting Tel Aviv
Israeli police inspect the site of a shooting attack in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Aug 5, 2023. AP


The attack came a day after a settler rampage in the occupied West Bank killed one Palestinian, deepening the spiral of violence that has gripped the region for the past year and a half.

Late Saturday, officials from Ichilov Hospital identified the Tel Aviv security guard who was killed as 42-year-old Chen Amir. Police identified the gunman as 27-year-old Kamel Abu Bakr, from a village near the flashpoint city of Jenin in the northern West Bank.

Both Amir and Bakr died shortly after arriving at Ichilov Hospital, according to hospital officials.

Jenin's refugee camp last month was the site of the largest Israeli offensive in the West Bank in nearly two decades. Twelve Palestinians, including at least eight militants, and one Israeli soldier, were killed in the fighting, which forced thousands to flee their homes and left large swaths of the camp in ruins.

After the attack, police and civilians ran through the cafe-lined streets in the seaside metropolis as protesters nearby rallied for their 40th week of protests against Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the country’s judiciary. Police said they would bolster their presence in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, and protest leaders said demonstrations would proceed normally.

The Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad both issued statements praising the attack.

The shooting came one day after a settler rampage in a village in the northern West Bank. Late on Friday, armed settlers entered Burqa, a herding village east of the city of Ramallah, shooting and killing 19-year-old Qusai Matan, Palestinian health officials said.

Israeli police said Saturday that they had arrested two Israeli settlers in connection with the attack after detaining five for questioning.

Israeli media reported that one of the arrested settlers used to work as an aide, who remained unnamed, for a lawmaker of the far-right Israeli “Jewish Power" party which is in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition of ultranationalist and ultraorthodox parties in the Israeli parliament. It includes Itamar Ben-Gvir, a pro-settlement firebrand known for hardline positions against Palestinians who is now the country's national security minister, overseeing the national police force.

The party couldn’t be reached for comment.

The other settler who was arrested was hospitalized after sustaining injuries Friday night. Authorities did not elaborate on the charges.

The village was closed down after the attack and more Israeli troops were stationed in the area surrounding it.

Palestinian officials said the settlers also burned two cars in the village. They also called for the perpetrators to be punished.

The rampage drew criticism from the U.K. Embassy in Israel, which wrote on social media that it was “appalled” by the settler attacks and called for accountability and justice for those involved.

Violence in the northern West Bank has spiraled with near-daily arrest raids carried out by the Israeli military, and growing attacks on Palestinian villages by extremist Jewish settlers.

The surge in violence is one of the worst in nearly two decades. More than 150 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of 2023 in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

At least 26 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis so far this year.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Palestinians seek those territories for their future independent state.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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